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Book Review
A-6 Intruder Units 1974-96
A-6 Intruder Units 1974-96
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

A-6 Intruder Units 1974-96 from Osprey Publishing LTD. details the post-Vietnam War service of this USN medium all-weather attack jet. The 121st title in their series Combat Aircraft, this 96-page book is authored by former Naval Aviator Rick Morgan, and illustrated by Jim Laurier. This book should be popular with modelers and historians, even recounting the change from bright US Navy color schemes to the toned down grays with us today. This popular softcover book is also available in PDF and ePUB. The paperback is catalogued as ISBN 9781472818775 and with Osprey's short code COM 121.

After the Intruder's stellar performance over Vietnam the A-6 was not only updated, it remained in production 20 years after the infamous Robert McNamara declared production would end in 1970. Osprey tells us;
    In the three decades following Vietnam, the veteran A-6 Intruder remained the most powerful strike aircraft available to the US Navy and Marine Corps. Engaged in operations over Cambodia, Lebanon and Libya during the 1970s and 80s, the A-6 maintained its reputation as the ‘Main Battery' of carrier aviation, remaining in service through the First Gulf War up until 1996 when its duties were taken over by the F-14 Tomcat. Following on from his study of the A-6 Intruder's exploits during the Vietnam War, Rick Morgan details the technological developments that were introduced to the airframe after that conflict and how it shaped the operational employment of the aircraft. Filled with first-hand accounts from pilots and navigators, as well as profile artwork and photographs, this is the complete story of the US Navy's main medium attack aircraft in the latter part of the Cold War.

Let us acquaint ourselves with this bulbous-nosed heavy-hitter of the late Cold War.

A-6 Intruder Units 1974-96 uses 96 pages to present the legend of the A-6 through 10 chapters and subsections:
    Return to Normality
    Drive-by Strikes
    The Marines
    Desert War 1990-91
    You're Terminated
    Colour Plates Commentary

Retired US Navy lieutenant commander Rick Morgan brings the insight of over 2,000 flight hours in USN attack aircraft to this subject. His intimate knowledge of the subject matter is especially enjoyable to read about as he peppers this text with unique words and terms, i.e., "the gouge," as well as personal insights to specific commanders and aircrewmen. He recounts that the Medium ("All-Weather") Attack community of NavAir was considered the elite of the fleet. He details the almost doubling of the A-6 fleet from 1974 to its height in the mid-1980s. During that time the mission shifted from operations of Southeast Asia to containing the Soviets in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Enhancing the aircraft's payload and abilities is presented.

In Drive-by Strikes the author details the dulling of aircraft camouflage with the Tactical paint Scheme (TPS) and how it led to the mangy appearance of aircraft so loved by modelers. We learn of President Reagan's Secretary of the Navy, Naval Reservist and A-6 NFO (Naval Flight Officer) John Lehman. SECNAV Lehman was a strong proponent of the A-6 and his vision of an expanded A-6 force paid handsomely during Desert Storm. Intruders were further blooded in combat over Grenada, Lebanon, Libya, and policing Iran. Each of those operations are presented through individual sub-chapters. I well remember the Lebanese debacle against Syrian forces and have long wondered what happened; author Morgan relates a knee-jerk operation ordered from Washington DC worthy of the abominations of McNamara's Rolling Thunder strikes.

The chapter ends with the sub-chapter Improvements and Dead Ends, which should be essential for anyone with a serious interest in the A-6.

The Marines is a short chapter that is mostly filled with an amazing crippled aircraft recovery story. EA-6A is simply about the Prowler; it features backstories of squadron names and insignias.

Desert War 1990-91 presents the Navy and Marine's war against Iraq. It offers insights to the effectiveness and superiority of the A-6 to "the Bug" - the FA-18 - and the AV-8 Harrier in the air-to-ground role. The successes of Desert Storm are followed by You're Terminated and mention of the A-12 Avenger II fiasco. The failure of the F-14 "Bombcat" and "the Bug" to fully replace the Intruder is narrated.

The text is concise and excellent. I enjoyed reading this book.

Photographs and Artwork
Almost every page has at least one photograph. Many, if not most, are in color. Modelers thus have a fantastic gallery of pristine A-6, and heavily weathered Intruder, images to use for reference.

Artist Jim Laurier prepared 30 color profiles for this book. Each one is supported by a commentary.

Further graphics include five appendices:

1. Intruder Production and Modified Airframes (Grumman Data.

2. A-6 Squadrons 1974-97: AIRLANT - NAS Oceana; AIRPAC - NAS Whidbey Island and NAF Atsugi; Reserves; US Marine Corps; EA-6A.

3. Intruder Unit Strength In Combat 1974-96*: over Cambodia; Iran; Lebanon; Libya (2 operations); Iran (again); Iraq.

4. A-6 Combat Losses 1974-96.

5. Intruder Safety

6. Ordnance and External Stores: 12 weapons and external stores, illustrated with color photos, and described with a narrative.

A-6 Intruder Units 1974-96 is a great book from Osprey for modelers, historians, and fans of the A-6 Intruder. An expert concise text with excellent illustrations and photographic support is presented by the author, an experienced retired Naval Aviator. His experience and insight creates an enjoyable text full of information.

I have no complaints with this book and recommend it.

Please remember to mention to Osprey and retailers that you saw this book here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Expert concise text and excellent illustrations and photographic support.
Lows: Nothing of consequence.
Verdict: This is a great book for modelers, historians, and fans of the A-6 Intruder.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 9781472818775
  PUBLISHED: Apr 06, 2018
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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